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Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector User’s Guide

Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector User’s Guide
Version 1.2.0 September 17, 2010

The Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector is a utility for monitoring Wi-Fi networks and managing the Wi-Fi operation of a laptop. Operating on Windows 7, Vista, or XP, the Wi-Fi Inspector provides detailed information about available Wi-Fi networks, management of a laptop’s Wi-Fi connection, and tools to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connectivity issues. It provides a useful tool for anyone deploying and operating Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi Inspector can be used for a number of practical applications, including: • Searching for Wi-Fi networks • Troubleshooting Wi-Fi connectivity issues • Verifying Wi-Fi coverage (site survey) • Managing a laptop’s Wi-Fi connection • Locating Wi-Fi devices • Detecting rogue APs • Verifying AP settings • Aiming Wi-Fi antennas • Wi-Fi Education

The following sections describe the different functions of the application and their usage. A menu ribbon at the top displays a number of options to control the operation of the application. Changed Speed Test to the speedtest. Improved results display from Connection Test 5. To check if it is installed. Windows 7 support 7.Features • • • • • • • • • • Dynamic radar view displaying local Wi-Fi network names and relative distance Detailed information table of all local Wi-Fi networks Display of laptop’s Wi-Fi connection details and most important network addresses Connection.adobe. The application will install an icon on your desktop. If it is not present. download and install from: 3. If you do not have the Flash Player installed. Improved display of networks on Radar file 2. go to Control Panel – Add/Remove Programs and look for Microsoft . and Speed tests for troubleshooting the Wi-Fi network connection Real-time graph of signal strength of one or more Wi-Fi networks with 8 minute history Locate mode for tracking Wi-Fi network signal strength. either built-in or external 3.php. Find the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector.NET Framework 2. Quality. then follow the installer’s instructions. Double click on the Wi-Fi Inspector executable file to install. Wi-Fi adapter. then selecting Add/Remove Programs. Adobe Flash Player for running Speed Test.NET Framework. Vista. 2010): 1. it can be downloaded from: http://get. Start the Wi-Fi Inspector by double clicking the application icon on the desktop: Operation The Wi-Fi Inspector is laid out in 4 tiled windows.xirrus. If a previous version of the Wi-Fi Inspector was installed on the system. 4. or XP SP2 or later 2. . Download the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector executable from the Wi-Fi Tools section of the Xirrus web site at http://www. 4.0 or later. Export of Wi-Fi networks to a . then select Change/Remove and follow the instructions. Miscellaneous bug fixes Requirements Installation and operation of the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector requires the following: 1. Microsoft .net site uninstall it first by opening the Windows Control Panel.aspx?FamilyID=0856eacb-4362-4b0d-8eddaab15c5e04f5&displaylang=en Installation 1. Added Quality Test linked to pingtest. each displaying different real-time information about the current Wi-Fi environment.csv file Directly Connect/Disconnect to Wi-Fi networks Option to Enable/Disable Wi-Fi adapter (Windows 7 and Vista only) Integrated glossary of Wi-Fi terms What’s New New in the 1.2. Windows 7. including audible beep Export Wi-Fi networks to .0 release (September 17.

Wireless information – SSID. BSSID.Layouts The layout of the 4 windows within the application can be changed via the options in the Layout section of the menu. but names are spread for readability. two buttons provide functions to manage your laptop’s Wi-Fi connection. or Networks. The Connect/Disconnect button opens the Windows Wireless Network Connection window from which a Wi-Fi network can be chosen to connect or . The names of the networks and a corresponding dot are displayed in a circular display with their relative distance from the center of the radar based on the strength of their Wi-Fi signal. and External IP address that the system is using to access the Internet. all 4 windows are displayed. The orientation of networks around the circle does not indicate actual angle of location. History. The External IP address is normally an IP address from your Internet Service Provider’s network. By default. For example by selecting Radar. To the far right of the Connection window. This will expand the Radar to full size with up to 10 network names displayed. By default. The Radar display can be expanded to large size by selecting “Radar” from the Layout section of the menu. Connection The Connection window displays detailed information about the current Wi-Fi connection. or selecting the icon in the upper left of each window to collapse/expand it. Address information associated with the connection is displayed to the right. A total of 4 network names are displayed. Channel. the DNS server address. with additional non-labeled dots indicating other networks. the size of the Radar is small and placed in the upper left hand corner of the application face. the name and dot will move towards the center of the Radar (stronger) or further away (weaker). only that particular window is shown. and Network Mode – is displayed on the left. the laptop’s IP address. Customized views can be created by dragging the separators between windows to resize them. Radar The Radar displays a dynamic view of the Wi-Fi networks (SSIDs) in the local area. The address information includes the MAC address of the Wi-Fi adapter. Gateway address. As the signal strength changes for a particular network. Signal level.

A colored bar graph displays the signal level in pictorial form – green is displayed for signals -70dBm and above. The row of the currently connected Wi-Fi network (if connected) is highlighted in orange.11n • Default Encryption: The default encryption type used on the network. see the Glossary. either Access Point or Ad Hoc. either 802. • Network Type: The type of operation of the Wi-Fi device operating the Wi-Fi network. in MHz. A description of the information presented in the Networks table is as follows: • SSID: Name of the Wi-Fi network. • Frequency: The frequency of the Wi-Fi channel. The Enable/Disable button (7 or Vista only) allows you to turn on or turn off the Wi-Fi adapter on your laptop. • Network Mode: Type of Wi-Fi network. or WPA2/802. • Signal: Signal level of the Wi-Fi network in either dBm or %. orange for -81dBm to -90dBm. • Default Authentication: The default authentication type used on the network. For definition of these terms.11g. 802.11a. Networks The Networks window displays a dynamic table of all Wi-Fi networks (SSIDs) that the laptop is detecting in its area. whether Open.11b. This is the name of the network that displays in the Windows Wireless Network Connection window. whether None. and red for -91dBm and below. or AES-CCMP. A desirable signal level for a robust Wi-Fi connection will be green. TKIP. or 802. 802. • Vendor: The name of the manufacturer of the AP or Wi-Fi device operating the Wi-Fi network • BSSID: The MAC address of the AP or Wi-Fi device • Channel: The Wi-Fi channel the Wi-Fi network is operating on. • Graph: Check box to enable/disable graphing of the signal level of the Wi-Fi network over time .1x.disconnect. WEP. WPA/PSK. yellow for signals -71dBm to -80dBm. This table updates periodically based on the Polling Interval setting in the Settings window (see below).

Locate The Locate Mode is entered from the Networks window and can be used to help determine the location of a specific Wi-Fi network. Hold the Shift key down and left click with the mouse to zoom in on the graph. the closer the network and the slower the beep. Use the Alt key with a left click of the mouse to zoom out on the graph. the frequency of which reflects signal strength. which clears all graph information. and Select All Networks. select “Exit Locate” from the Settings menu or the Connection window. When in Locate mode: • The selected network is highlighted in yellow on the Networks table • The selected network is displayed on the Radar • The selected network is graphed in the History window • An audible beep sounds. The more rapid the beep. More than one network can be chosen to graph at one time. . using sound and visual information to indicate proximity. the further away. Signal History The Signal History window displays a graph of Wi-Fi network signal levels over time. Enter Locate Mode by right clicking on the network to locate. To exit Locate mode. Right clicking on the graph provides the options to Reset Chart. Up to 500 seconds (about 8 minutes) of signal level history is graphed. which graphs all of the networks currently in the Networks table (or the 10 strongest if more than 10). This mode operates similar to a Geiger counter. then select the Locate option. Networks can be chosen to graph by selecting the checkbox to the far right in the Networks table.

plus an overall quality grade. latency. Troubleshooting Using the information presented by the Wi-Fi Inspector and the built-in tests. Warning.speedtest. Quality. Gateway. Ping or DNS lookup failure will result in a ‘Fail’. and an Internet address. From the Tests menu.Tests The Wi-Fi Inspector includes three built in tests to assist in troubleshooting and characterization of a Wi-Fi connection – the Connection. plus runs a DNS lookup. latency and download/upload speeds are provided for the connection from your laptop to the Internet. and Speed tests. a simple fourstep process can be used to quickly analyze and troubleshoot issues with a system’s . After the test. Click on a server location indicated by the icons on the map to start the test. Any lost Pings or an average Ping latency of greater than 100 msec to the Gateway or DNS server or greater than 250 msec to the Internet will result in a ‘Warning’.pingtest. The Quality Test links to the web site which provides the ability to run a test which measures the quality of your connection from your laptop to the Internet. Results provide the packet loss. The Speed Test links to the www. A pop up window displays the test results with an indication of Pass. and jitter on your connection. Click on a server location to start the web site from which performance tests to the Internet can be executed. or Fail result. Connection Test runs 5 Pings each directed to the DNS server.

No successful Pings to the Internet indicates that the Internet connection is down. summarized as a letter grade. The Wireless sub-section indicates if the system is currently connected to the wireless network. End users can run the utility and report the information presented back to their Helpdesk as part of diagnosing issues. including the laptop’s IP. etc. T1. 2. congestion on the network. If not all Pings were successful or the average latency is high (greater than 100 msec to the Gateway or DNS server. and External IP addresses. click on the Settings button from the menu.x” indicates the laptop is probably not receiving addresses via DHCP. the system is not connected to the wirelessly and troubleshooting should begin with the Wi-Fi connection. indicate the ability to run all types of applications over your Internet connection. Settings include: • Selected Adapter: Choose the Wi-Fi adapter to display information about on the main widget face (when more than one adapter is present on your system) • Display Units: Select units to display signal strength (RSSI). there may be an issue with the quality of the wireless connection or the configuration of the wired network. Network performance is tested by selecting “Quality Test” and “Speed Test” from the menu. The results of the Quality Test. in particular VoIP and streaming media which are sensitive to delay and packet loss. • Locate Sound: Choose to either enable or disable beeping sound in Locate mode. An IP address of the form “169. DNS. The Connection Test checks the state of the network connection by sending 5 Pings to each of the Gateway. Gateway. • RSSI Method: Select either Accurate or Classic method. If “NA” is listed in these fields. Polling is on by default but can be turned off by selecting “Stop” from the Polling menu. The Accurate method is the default and best indication of current signal strength. The Addresses sub-section displays IP address data. These tests run performance tests from external Internet server to your laptop. the system may not be appropriately connected to the network for proper communication to occur. If “NA” is listed in one or more of these fields. 4. 1.wireless and network connection. The “Refresh” option executes an immediate poll. An “NA” for the External IP likely indicates there is no Internet connection.254. Polling The polling interval of the application determines how frequently the Wi-Fi adapter scans the air to update information about the local networks.) or lower than previously measured. The animation can also be disabled. • Sweep Type: Select either a radar or sonar style sweep animation on the radar face of the widget. Wireless configuration information is displayed and updated in real-time in the Connection window. The default setting is every 5 seconds and is set via the Settings window – see below. or greater than 250 msec to the Internet). there may be issues with the quality of your wireless connection. and an Internet IP address. Network configuration information is displayed and updated in real-time in the Connection window. A 100% signal corresponds to -50dBm or greater. 3. either % or dBm. The results of the Speed Test provide the upstream and downstream speed of your connection. Settings To change application settings. . The External IP is the IP address of the laptop’s connection to the Internet – normally from the ISP (Internet Service Provider). DSL. DNS. If the numbers are lower than expected for the speed of your Internet connection (whether T3. Network connectivity is tested by selecting “Connection Test” from the menu. A 0% signal corresponds to -100dBm. or issues with your ISP.x.

php . The Wi-Fi Inspector may not run properly on systems running virtualization software such as VMware or VirtualPC. To zoom out on the graph. Wi-Fi Tools page: This information comes from the Wi-Fi adapter scanning across Wi-Fi channels. The Wi-Fi Inspector must be uninstalled before being updated or reinstalled. you must be running the application with administrator privileges for this function to to operate. The Classical method is commonly used by many other Wi-Fi utilities and takes RSSI information from the connection itself. the faster the widget will update information. 3. especially useful if there are a lot of networks (SSIDs) present. The shorter the interval. 5. Export Networks Select “Export Networks” from the menu to save the current Networks list to a . 2.csv file. 2. Known Issues Following are known issues with the 1. To zoom in on the graph. 4. Identify Ad Hoc networks (a potential security threat in Wi-Fi networks) using the Network Type column in the Networks table. A snapshot of all current SSID data is saved into the file. To reduce CPU utilization of the application. The Enable/Disable function is not available on Windows XP. hold the Shift key down and left click with the mouse. Choose Accurate (the default) for the RSSI Method from the Settings window for most accurate signal strength information. Click on the column headers on the Networks table to sort by that item. This column will display values of either Access Point or Ad Hoc. 3. increase the Polling Interval (from Settings window) and/or select “None” for the Sweep Type on the Settings window. This information is updated less frequently than with the Accurate method. use the Alt key with a left click of the mouse.2 version of the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector: 1.• Polling Interval: Select the interval in seconds that the widget samples new Wi-Fi information. Updates The Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector may be updated periodically with new features and fixes. The latest versions are posted for free download from the Xirrus website. On Windows 7 and Vista systems. Tips 1.

com. Also Available Xirrus also provides a line of free Wi-Fi gadgets and widgets for Windows and Mac OS systems that provide similar functionality as the Wi-Fi However. Gadgets and widgets are mini-applications that run on the desktop.xirrus.Support/Feedback The Wi-Fi Inspector is a free tool and does not come with a guarantee of support.php . inquiries and feedback about the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector can be made by sending an email to gadget@xirrus. Check the Xirrus web site for the latest available gadgets and widgets: http://www.